Whether you are looking to make a change from one job or another, or this is your entry (or re-entry) into your chosen profession, you want to be sure to ace every interview. Nailing your job interview is the first step to landing the job you are aiming for. During all of my job searches so far in my career, I made sure that I left every interview confident that I gave it my all, and always represented myself well to the company. Regardless of how qualified or not you are for the job, you have accomplishments behind you that deserve that moment in front of the interviewer. Above all else, you need to stand out and separate yourself from the rest while being authentically you. It may sound challenging but there are several things you can do to make sure you shine! Take a look at some of these tips to get yourself on the right track and leave nothing (literally) on the table.
Dress Like You Might Run Into the CEO
Nailing your job interview starts with your presence. We have all heard of “dress for success” but success looks different to different people. To nail an interview, you need to dress like you could accidentally collide with the CEO of that company coming out of the bathroom. This means from head to toe. Dig through your closet for something sharp, clean and ultra professional with the right footwear and accessories for the situation. Stick to neutral colors like black, white, gray, nude etc and avoid crazy patterns that could throw off your interviewer. Wear nice shoes, but nothing too distracting- a low heel, dressy flat, dress shoes for the men. Also, do your closet digging the night before to avoid any random old stains or crinkles.
Treat Everyone With Professional Grade Attention
When you are interviewing in a physical building, everyone you interact with is part of that interview. From the receptionist that checks you in, to the person in the elevator- your interview starts the moment you arrive. I have seen lots of situations where people are nervous or practicing, and do not put their best foot forward to people around them. These could be your future co-workers or clients, and you need to represent from beginning to end. Keep your phone away, and be engaging with diamond level service to everyone you meet during the duration of your time there.
Prepare Questions Ahead of Time and ASK THEM
People always expect you to ask questions in an interview to gauge your interest level and the amount of research you did prior to the interview. This is essential and should be something you prepare for. Before heading in, have at least 3-4 thought provoking questions ready to use in the event that no question opportunities pop up during your interview. Thought-provoking means going beyond, “What does your company do” to “What does long-term success look like for this position and where do you see the opportunities to add value.” Ask questions that you truly want to know the answer to because at the end of the day, you are your most valuable asset. You should know you are picking the company for the right reasons.
Prepare Your Elevator Speech
In 1 minute our less, you should have your entire life’s accomplishments boiled down into a few powerful sentences that showcase why you are the best candidate. Replay the highlight reel from your professional life and craft a kick-ass elevator speech that you could recite at any moment. This shows your dedication, and confidence right away, while reducing the “umms” and “likes” that sneak up into your speech.
Focus On Your Why
We all have an answer when someone says, “What do you do?” Whether you say business woman, caretaker, teacher, or cat sweater maker, we all have something we do. But the thing we do is not our purpose, and it is not our WHY. Every time you go into a job interview, you need to think of your WHY. Why are you there? Why do you want this particular role? This company? Why now? Even if the simple answer is financial, there is more to your WHY. You need money to support your kids or your parents, your travel dreams, your dream for financial independence, or your dream for unlimited Chipotle dinners. Whatever your WHY is, know it, and own it. This will bring purpose to the interview and seep out into the confidence you exude.
Have you interviewed recently? How did it go? Which of these strategies are you going to hone for the next one?
All the best,